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The Bunk Beds (Entrapment Hazards) (Safety) Regulations 1987


As a result of a number of accidents where young children have slipped through gaps in the restraining rails and trapped their heads, these regulations laid down permissible sizes of gaps in the structure of the upper bunk. This was to prevent the risk of injury, strangulation or suffocation.

What The Regulations Covered

“Bunk Beds” includes any bed with a sleeping surface which is 800mm (about 32”) above the floor. This could also include cabin-type beds where there is only one elevated sleeping surface. The sleeping surface is the base of the bed, not including the mattress or upholstery.

What The Regulations Required

The regulations laid down a range of measurements within which gaps in the structure of the upper bunk must fall. This is to provide a gap which is too small for a child’s body to pass through and trap the head, but large enough to prevent an arm or leg being trapped.

Gaps in the base or sleeping surface must not be more than 75mm (about 3 ins). All other gaps in the structure must not be less than 60mm and not more than 75mm.

Where there is an opening in the side of the upper bunk to allow access, this gap must be at least 300mm (almost 12 ins).

How Can I Tell If My Bunk Beds Comply?

A simple measurement can be made to find out the height of the upper sleeping surface (excluding mattress). If this is more than 800mm then measure any gaps in the headboard, footboard, side rails and ladder to check whether the gap is the right size.

If the gap in the structure will pass a sphere diameter 60mm (about 2.5 ins) but will not pass a sphere diameter 75mm (about 3 ins) then the bed should comply.

When the bunk beds are reversible, so that either bed could be used as the top bunk, then both beds must pass the test for permissible gaps.

Even kits sold for self assembly bunk beds must satisfy the Regulations and be able to pass the permissible gap test when constructed in accordance with the instructions.

bunkbed specifications

The Bunk Beds (Entrapment Hazards) (Safety) Regulations 1987 have been revoked following the Government's red tape challenge. Henceforth, enforcement officers will rely on the general Product Safety Regulations 2005. You should ensure that all bunk beds are marked with a CE Mark and compy with Euorpean Harmonised standards for bunkbeds: EN747: 2012.

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